This weekend, we’re screening the film Stony Island at The Cinefamily in Los Angeles. The lead role is played by Richie Davis, cofounder of the bands Third Rail and Maxx Traxx from Chicago. Richie grew up in Jeffrey Manor, a redlined neighborhood at the center of Chicago’s changing racial landscape. To not participate in white flight was, in itself a revolutionary statement by their family. His closest childhood friend was Stoney Robinson (whose brother, Stevie, would actually front Third Rail and Maxx Traxx, as well as a number of other local groups like T.H.E.M. and Windy City. Now members of these bands can be heard here.) Chicago’s monolithic journalistic force, Studs Terkel, documented Richie’s young life in his book, Race. Powerhouse director Andy Davis would document it with the movie Stony Island, but Richie’s interviews with Stud Terkel provide amazing background. Listen here for the full interview:
Another write-up from WBEZ Chicago (our NPR affiliate) last year, concerning the cultural significance of the film (and some of the long lost Chicago landmarks it captures)!
The Numero crew is headed to Los Angeles; we figure since we’ll be out there for the Grammy’s anyhow we might as well make a party out of it.
Follow them from the back streets of Chicago to the slick neon lights of the big time (our 2010 Syl Johnson Complete Mythology box set is up for historical album and liner notes.)
The Numero founders will be heading into town early to present a screening of Stony Island over at Cinefamily. Director Andrew Davis and co-star Susanna Hoffs (of the Bangles) will host a Q&A and Numero DJs will spin tracks before and after the screening. Limited tickets may still be available, but they’ll definitely go fast.
And for his part of the Grammy’s run up, Syl is playing a sold out show at the Echo, backed by the Breakestra on Saturday February 11th.
Our main man Syl Johnson is busier than ever and the press are trying to keep up. Check out this great piece on Syl in the Los Angeles Times as well as the in depth podcast about Syl and his musical legacy over at Soul Sides.
Filed under: Syl Johnson | Tags: Andy Davis, Chess Records, Gene Barge, Mayor Daley, Stony Island, Susanna Hoffs, The Bangles, The Boss
We’ve got a two-pronged attack for bringing the Chicago underground soul scene of the 1970s to Los Angeles. Saturday night, Syl Johnson plays at The Echo. This will be his first performance in Los Angeles in almost 40 years. It is not to be missed, but there are only a few tickets remaining. However, there is another event just as exciting: a presentation of Stony Island, a movie long held near and dear to the collective heart of the Numero Group. Stony Island is a cinéma vérité impression of the Chicago soul scene of the 1970s. It features giants of soul music playing characters, but really playing themselves. Rawer and truer than any other movie ever made about an R&B band… including documentaries. The movie stars Richie Davis, who is known to soul collectors and fans as the guitar player in Third Rail (and later Maxx Traxx), and Gene Barge, the Chess legend whose resume includes… well, just about everything. (Also, some amazing guerrilla footage of Boss Mayor Daley’s funeral procession!) We’re gonna be running some articles on the blog in this next week leading up to the screening to demonstrate the cultural significance of the film. We’ve confirmed that co-star Susanna Hoffs will be attending the screening and hopefully available for questions. She’s slightly better known for her work with The Bangles. Again, here’s where you can get tickets. The Silent Movie Theater is not large, this will sell out. Thanks to our good friends at Cinefamily for making this special event happen!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Andy Davis, Gene Barge, Stony Island, Susanna Hoffs
In addition to bringing Syl Johnson to Los Angeles for his first show there in over 30 years (BTW: it’s almost sold out, so if you want to go, jump on those tickets now), Numero is immersing ourselves fully in the Southern California experience and throwing a film premiere. Sorta.
The first film by acclaimed director Andy Davis (Under Siege, The Fugitive, Holes), Stony Island follows the rise of a fictional working Chicago showband at the close of the ’70s. Shot entirely in Chicago—largely without permits—the film features a legion of classic Chicago players, including Gene Barge, Phil Upchurch, Larry Ball, Richie Davis, Tennyson Stephens, Ronnie Barron, and a young Susanna Hoffs, alongside Dennis Franz and Rae Dawn Chong.
We’ve been talking to Andy about reissuing the film for years, but have never come to any kind of accord. He has graciously allowed us to screen the original 35MM print for the first time in Los Angeles in over 30 years. Our friends at Cinefamily are co-hosting at their Silent Movie Theater.
The Silent Movie Theater
611 N Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Additionally, Andy Davis will be doing a director’s Q&A, and Numero will DJ on the Cinefamily patio for a few hours after. The theater only holds 150 people, and there will not be a second show. If you want to go, it would be best to secure your tickets now.
Still not convinced? Watch this trailer from 1978: